Developing an understanding of your candidate audience…

08.27.2018 / Zachery Tweddell

Director, Marketing & Innovation

Developing an understanding of your candidate audience

Why do we work?


Sure, we wouldn’t work if we didn’t get paid, but that’s not why we do what we do. Generally, according to Barry Schwartz in his TED Talk on the way we think about work, those who are happy in their roles find work to be “challenging, stimulating, engaging, meaningful and if they’re lucky it might even be important.”

To further understand what this means, we started by digging into the factors that motivate change. If we look at why people look for a new job, we immediately see some alignment between recent poll data and the talking points raised by Schwartz. For example, according to a Korn Ferry poll of nearly 5,000 professionals, the top reason why people are looking for a new job is boredom. Additionally, the same survey discovered that only 19 percent of professionals said their top priority out of a new job is a higher salary.

You may think that “work” is inevitably boring at times and you’re most likely correct. That said, the work environment doesn’t have to be.

“The distinguished anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, said, years ago, that human beings are the “unfinished animals.” And what he meant by that was that it is only human nature to have a human nature that is very much the product of the society in which people live. That human nature, that is to say, our human nature is much more created than it is discovered. We design human nature by designing the institutions within which people live and work.”Barry Schwartz

If that’s the case, regardless of the field or industry, employers have the ability to create an environment in which people can thrive and be happy.

Easier said than done, we know, but let’s look at the process for creating alignment between the wants and needs of your people, and the environment in which you’re asking them to work.

We start by conducting internal and external research — focus groups, secondary research, SWOT analysis, etc. to develop a thorough understanding of three key areas:

  1. What is the external perception of you as an employer
  2. What is the reality of an employees experience
  3. What is leadership’s vision for the future


From there, we examine the point at which the three perspectives overlap and where they don’t. The overlap provides us with the pillars on which to build your EVP as it currently exists. The outliers for each provide an opportunity for further alignment.

As a starting point, we always recommend developing a strategy to help communicate your existing value proposition. It’s a key component in solving short- to mid-term hiring needs. As we look at the outliers, it’s imperative that you grow and evolve with your candidate audience. Addressing key challenge areas over time will allow you to do that.

For more information on how to better understand and engage with you desired talent pool, reach out!